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The Aaron Curry Dissection: Weeks 8-9

It got worse.

Week 8:  vs. Raiders



(14:55 1st Quarter) 1st and 10 at OAK 10  J.Campbell sacked at OAK 9 for -1 yards (C.Cole).

Colin Cole doesn't deserve any credit for this sack.  He didn't even make a sack, for that matter.

The Seahawks are lined up in the Bandit.  Curry on the right side as a DE, with Tats and Heater as the LBs.  The Raiders are in an I-form.  Zach Miller motions from left to right.

Snap.  Jason Campbell fakes the handoff to Darren McFadden.  Miller runs inside the LOS to stage run-blocking, then takes a hard cut to the right sideline for a pass route.  It's a good set-up  for a play action:  force all the bodies to the left side, and sneak the pass to the TE on the right flat.  The only problem is a rather obvious one that I'm glad Bradley caught:  an OLB blitz from the right side.  Curry gets to the backfield un-touched and busts up the play.  He chases Campbell to the endzone, a safety on his mind...and misses.  Campbell escapes, gets out of the endzone, and pulls off the Seneca Wallace Special by running out of bounds for a loss.

Colin Cole didn't factor.  He barely touched Campbell as he made his Senesack.  The QB Sack and Tackle stats are broken beyond repair.  Never put any stock into them again.

(10:46 1st Quarter) 3rd and 9 at OAK 30     J.Campbell scrambles up the middle to OAK 33 for 3 yards (A.Curry).

Curry is lined up as a DT this time.  Interesting.  Post-snap, Will Herring, lined up as the MLB, blitzes and does a helluva job pressuring Campbell to scramble.  I noticed that Jason Campbell is very panicky in the pocket.  If he can't find his first read, he'll either run around looking for his checkdown or simply run for it.

Curry holds his own on the front lines and quickly cleans up the play.

(10:12 2nd Quarter) 1st and 10 at SEA 39 D.McFadden left end to SEA 38 for 1 yard (A.Curry).

Aaron Curry is a primal beast who will scream into the TV microphones over any play, no matter how minor.  I love this part about him.


(7:14 1st Quarter) 1st and 10 at SEA 42 D.Heyward-Bey left end to SEA 12 for 30 yards (L.Milloy).

Bad Curry.  Bad, bad Curry.  You go sit in the corner and think about what you've done.  Here's a Dunce cap for good measure.

But it wasn't all his fault.  This play was a failure on multiple levels.  The Seahawks line up in the classic Bandit, with Curry in his usual spot as a right-side DE.  Interestingly enough, Tats is alone as a linebacker; looks like Heater is also on the line.  Somebody may be covering Jacoby Ford on the right side in a deep zone.  This zone is so deep I can't see the CB on the TV frame.  The Raiders have 3 WRs bunched in a Trey package on the left side, with the aforementioned Ford alone on the right.  McFadden is about eight yards deep in the backfield.

This already sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.  Too many receivers to cover, too many defenders showing blitz, too much soft zone coverage.  But the real stars of this crapfest are Tats and Curry.

Snap.  Jason Campbell fakes the handoff to McFadden, and tosses to Howard-Bey, who is looping from the left bunch to the backfield, and then runs to the right side.  Tats tries to be involved in the play, but Mario Henderson moves forward and completely embarraseses him in every fashion of the game.  However, Aaron Curry manages to top Tats in the "bad pursuit" department.  After the snap, he tiptoes around a little, then moves for the kill upon seeing the run.  He stops moving once backup TE Brandon Myers meets him and kindly escorts him away from the play.  With the zone abandoned (there's a new rule in your Aaron Curry Drinking Game), Heyward-Bey is sitting pretty.

Trick plays are maddening when they don't work, because they are so obvious any competent defense can sniff it out.  Trick plays are even more maddening when they do work, because the defense completely failed to sniff out something that Madden gamers could point out.

(12:48 2nd Quarter) 2nd and 8 PENALTY on SEA-A.Curry, Neutral Zone Infraction, 5 yards, enforced at OAK 37 - No Play.


(11:48 3rd Quarter) 1st and 10 at OAK 20 D.McFadden up the middle to SEA 31 for 49 yards (K.Cox).

When run support goes horribly wrong.

Seahawks in a typical Bandit, only this time the DE positions are switched; Curry is on the left side standing up, and Chris Clemons is on the right side standing up.  The Raiders are in an offset I-form, with 2 WRs to the left and FB Marcel Reese lined up to the left of Darren McFadden.

Ball snap.  LT Langston Walker collapses towards the middle, leaving Curry with an open lane.  He then decides to run right into Reese, who turns him away from the A gap that Oakland's O-line did a masterful job of opening.

Lofa Tatupu badly whiffed at the first-down marker.  Kenard Cox makes a touchdown-saving shoelace tackle 39 yards later.

(8:12 4th Quarter) 2nd and 8 at SEA 34 D.McFadden right tackle to SEA 31 for 3 yards (J.Siavii).

Curry is on the right side as a Bandit DE.  Oakland is in a standard I-form.  After the snap, Langston Walker easily moves him out of the B gap while McFadden bursts through the massive hole.  A hustle tackle by Junior Siavii saves further damage.

Interesting Notes

--The Oakland Colisseum is almost half-empty at the start of the game.

--(12:28  1st Quarter) (Shotgun) 3rd and 14 M.Hasselbeck sacked at SEA 21 for -8 yards (R.Seymour).

Remember when Ben Hamilton was playing regularly early in the season?  And remember when he was supposed to be a vital cog to the Alex Gibbs zone blocking scheme?  I'm sorry to report that zone-blocking skill stands little chance against the athletic monster that is Richard Seymour.  Matt also stood still while Seymour rolled into his legs, but let's not dwell on Matt.

--(8:42 1st quarter) (Shotgun) 3rd and 16 at SEA 16 M.Hasselbeck pass short right to G.Tate to SEA 28 for 12 yards (T.Branch).

It's time for everyone's favorite segment:  The Golden Retriever Watch.

Golden Tate is lined up on the left side.  After the snap, he runs to the right in a very short route close to the LoS.  Once getting some space, he frantically calls for the pass, like any good dog would beg for the Frisbee.  Matt gives it to him on the sideline, he quickly spins away from Michael Huff, and makes use of open space for 12 yards.  It didn't get the first down, but it was still fun to watch.

Later in the 2nd quarter, he puts his right hand up, as if signaling for a fair catch, but grabs the ball and bursts forward for 12 yards.  The Raiders and crowd didn't like that, so Ed Hochuli has to come out and make a statement that the punt returner has to wave his hand for a legitimate fair-catch call.  I wish we could clone Ed Hochuli 32 times so he can ref every NFL game.

--The FOX broadcaster at 6:17 in the 1st:  "We apologize for any technical difficulties...we are in Oakland".

--I didn't start noticing Bradley's signature Bandit package (2 LBs, the other in DE) until the Bears game.  It popped up more in the Cards game, and it's almost the default style in this game.  It's worth wondering if this trend contributed to the defensive collapse in the 2nd half of the season.

--(15:00 2nd Quarter) (Shotgun) 3rd and 24 at OAK 41 M.Hasselbeck pass incomplete deep left to G.Tate.

John Lynch blames Golden Tate for a dropped ball.  He conveniently ignores the fact that Matt was throwing off his back foot thanks to pressure, or that Tate was covered by one Nnamdi Asomugha, who smothered Tate like any star CB would, and attempted a play for the ball like any star CB would.  Nope, let's just blame the dumb rookie instead of the All-World cornerback who did what someone of his stature is expected to do.

And Matt still made a mistake throwing to a guy tightly covered by arguably the best CB in the league.

--As of 7:17 in the 2nd quarter, the Seahawks have five three-and-outs.  A defensive collapse is not always the fault of the defense.

--Red Bryant's season-changing injury happens at 1:01 in the 2nd quarter.  Chris Clemons pulls from the left side and rolls up on Bryant's legs.  And so the Seahawks continue their proud tradition of injuring each other.  Thanks a lot, Clemons.

--I may have mentioned this in a game thread earlier, but Tom Cable always looks like that one dude who stumbles out of the local biker bar, blasted on cheap beer and looking to commit a few misdemeanors.  I'm glad to have him on our team.

--Thanks to a flaccid offense and a defense that couldn't get off the field, Oakland's 20-point surge in the 4th quarter was the only logical conclusion to this game.

--(13:36 4th Quarter) 1st and 10 at OAK 31 J.Campbell pass deep left to D.Heyward-Bey for 69 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Ever wondered what would happen if you pit Darrius Heyward-Bey against a career backup like Nate Ness?  Wonder no more.

Ness is lined up against DHB in a tight man coverage.  Lawyer Milloy moves close to the line in a blitz signal, but after the snap, drops back in a mid-zone.  So no deep coverage for Ness, he's on his own.  Curry is on the opposite side in a zone, and did fine in his role.

Post-snap, DHB fakes a curl route after 5 yards, then turns around and runs a go route at full speed.  Nate Ness is completely helpless against this move, and grabs Heyward-Bey's jersey in a desperate attempt at looking competent.  With no Milloy around in coverage, DHB has a nice cushion for Campbell to give him the ball.  Upon the catch, Earl Thomas charges in and whiffs on the over-pursuit.  DHB walks in the endzone with nobody in front of him.

--(10:11 4th Quarter) 1st and 10 at OAK 13 M.Hasselbeck sacked at OAK 20 for -7 yards (M.Shaughnessy).

Chester Pitts should never be allowed to play LT ever again.


Week 9: vs. Giants



(10:52 1st Quarter) 3rd and 1 at SEA 39 A.Koets reported in as eligible. E.Manning pass short right to K.Boss to SEA 29 for 10 yards (A.Curry). Seattle challenged the fumble ruling, and the play was REVERSED. A.Koets and A.Koets reported in as eligible. E.Manning pass short right to K.Boss to SEA 29 for 10 yards (A.Curry). FUMBLES (A.Curry), RECOVERED by SEA-D.Hawthorne at SEA 29. Play whistled dead without a tackle.

Like most plays involving Aaron Curry, this is a highlight, a lowlight, and an interesting note all at once.  The low is his eternally vexing bite on the play-action.  The height is his quick turn-around, irresistable athleticism, and enough savvy to strip away the ball while making the tackle.  The interesting note is the astonishingly bad scheme called by Bradley.

Let's break it down.

With only one yard needed for the first down, the Giants line up in a glorified goal-line package:  one WR to the right, one back, the TE on the line, and a lot of big bodies.  The Seahakws have almost a base 4-3; Curry is on the right side in a normal OLB.  I say "almost" because with nobody to cover on the left, Kelly Jennings jogs up to the line.  Before the snap, Kevin Boss motions from left to right.  Nobody attempts to adjust for this.

This looks like a mis-match, and for the most part it is; a jumbo package against a basic defensive coverage, with only one yard at stake?  Not cool, Bradley.

Snap.  The play goes according to NY's script.  Eli fakes the handoff and dumps it off to Boss in the right flat with no coverage.  Easy first down.  Only it didn't have a happy ending.  Curry initially jumps towards the middle of the LOS biting hard on play-action, but once he sees Boss running around on the sideline, all alone and with the ball, he charges up to Super Curry Mode, beasts over to Boss, and pops the ball out with his sheer ferocity.  Junior Siavii also joins in on the tackle, and Heater picks up the loose ball.  The officials ruled it down by contact, but correct their mistake after a Pete Carroll challenge.

A poor playcall and poor execution are both saved by an amazing feat by one man.  Football is a weird game.


(3rd and 4th Quarter)  See note below.


Interesting Notes:

--The first person who tries to start a "Matt vs. Charlie" argument in this thread is going to get flagged into oblivion.

--Troy Aikman on Ahmad Bradshaw, paraphrased: "I'd rather have a guy that would run over me, than a guy that I would chase around the field."  This is the kind of hard-hitting analysis we're getting from the FOX A-Team.

--(3:14 1st Quarter) 2nd and 6 at SEA 49 B.Jacobs left guard to NYG 49 for -2 yards (J.Siavii).

How about a highlight for one Junior Siavii?  The Hawks were in a Bandit, with Curry on the right DE.  He doesn't factor.  Siavii does.  He blows through the hole with little effort and drags down Jacobs.  Siavii isn't a good player by any means, but I like to shine some light on guys that otherwise don't do anything to deserve it.

--(2:27 1st Quarter) 1st and 10 at SEA 46  A.Koets reported in as eligible. E.Manning pass deep middle to H.Nicks for 46 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Attention rookie safeties:  never leave your left-side zone when Kelly Jennings happens to be in that zone.

--One special teams flub and the Giants are up 21-0 in the first.  The wretched offense isn't helping matters.  This game is torture to re-watch.

--(15:00 2nd Quarter) 2nd and 16 at NYG 17 C.Whitehurst pass deep middle intended for M.Williams INTERCEPTED by T.Thomas at NYG -1. T.Thomas to NYG 27 for 28 yards (D.Butler).

I recall BMW freely admitting to his mistakes on Twitter.  This was one of those mistakes.  Charlie threw the ball to him with good accuracy, in between defenders and a perfect route, and he let the ball bounce off his hands into defenders.  Please don't do that again, Mike.

--I've noticed that Curry was sitting out for more passing downs this game than in the previous ones.

--Halfway through the 3rd quarter, you can hear "Let's go Giants" chants on the TV.  What a shitty game.

--(13:41 4th Quarter) 1st and 10 at NYG 36 C.Whitehurst pass deep right to B.Obomanu for 36 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Garbage-time scores, for the most part, don't mean much.  Your team is still down by 34 points, morale is still shattered, and the liquor cabinet supply is getting lower by the minute.  But there's still something I enjoy about these kind of scores.  For one quick, fleeting moment, the Seahawks manage to look like an NFL team.  It's a beautiful rarity.  Charlie drops back, the O-line gives him the time he needs, he steps up perfectly into a flawless spiral, and Obo easily burns his man and walks into the endzone.  It's a quick moment, but a glorious one that feeds into our irrational hope that the Seahawks are close to turning the corner.

And then we look at the scoreboard, notice that they're still down 41-7, and silently reach for another drink, attempting to suppress tears.

--Curry had mostly no-lights in this game, but the 2nd-half performance was so non-descript I'm struggling for notes.  He stands up, he lightly pushes a blocker, he'll watch the play unfold on the other side of the field, he'll run after the pile looking like he's doing something important.  This game was over at halftime, and the entire Seahawks defense acted like it.  If they didn't care, then I don't care.  As soon as Sage Rosenfals checked in for the Giants, I tuned out entirely.  If Curry did something awesome in those last 10 minutes, then please let me know.  This has been by far the worst game to experience again.